Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Kano Pillars say they have received a positive report from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as regards the payment of their 2019 Aiteo Cup win entitlement.
According to the Media Officer to the club, Rilwanu Idris Malikawa, the information reaching the Nigerian giants indicates that the nation’s football governing body would release the said money to the Sai Masu Gida soon.
Malikawa further explained that from the recent information the club got, delay in the payment of the prize money was not intentional but due to some issues beyond the Federation’s control.
“With this, we are commending the Aiteo Group for sponsoring the competition and hope they will not relent on their efforts in moving football forward in the country,” Malikawa said.
Recall that the four-time NPFL champions had recently released a statement asking the NFF to do everything within their power to pay them their entitlement.
The NFF had signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Aiteo Group in 2017 for the naming right of country’s oldest football competition.
Kano Pillars edged out Niger Tornadoes on penalties to clinch their first ever National cup.
NPFL 2019/2020: Lobi Stars set continental slot target ahead new season
In related news, Mike Idoko, the Vice-Chairman of Lobi Stars on Friday said the target of the club for the 2019/2020 NPFL season was a continental ticket.
Lobi Stars begin their league campaign on November 3 against Plateau United at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
Idoko told NAN that the players were mentally and physically prepared for the challenges ahead of the new season, adding that the acquisition of a new coach was a big boost to the club.
“You cannot have a 100 per cent preparation, therefore, so far, I think we have done a lot in terms of pre-season preparations as we await the commencement of the league,” he said.
“We kept playing preseason tournaments to prepare the minds of our players, keep them in shape as well as perfect our team strategy.
“We lost our coach, Solomon Ogbiede two weeks to the Super Six last season, may his soul rest-in-peace. However, we have acquired the services of one of the best coaches in the country, Gbenga Ogunbote.
“He has high pedigree and by the grace of God we believe that he can help us secure a continental slot and if possible, hopefully go ahead to win the league this season.”
Ogunbote, a former Gateway United, Sunshine Stars, Shooting Stars and Rangers International gaffer signed a one-year contract with the Makurdi-based side.
He guided Rangers to a third-placed finish in the 2018/2019 NPFL Championship playoffs and also secured a Confederations Cup spot.
During his two-year spell at Rangers, Ogunbote won his first ever silverware in two decades as a coach when he guided the Flying Antelopes to their maiden Aiteo Cup title in 35 years, defeating Kano Pillars 4-2 on penalties after regulation time had ended 3-3 in 2018.
On his prediction for their first game of the season, Idoko said that it would be a tough encounter but expressed optimism that his team would emerge victorious.
“Its a local derby (North Central derby), we are playing Plateau United in Jos, therefore, it promises to be a nervy and mouth-watering encounter,” he said.
“It has always not been easy when both sides clash but we are hopeful of carrying the day.
“There were a lot of challenges confronting the league which led to the long delay in the kick-off of the 2019/2020 season, however, I am confident that the league would begin as soon as possible.
“We just came out of a consultative meeting after the draws were made in Abuja on Monday, it is clear that we have challenges but I believe that in the next three weeks the league should commence.’’
The long awaited league is expected to kick off on 3 November and end on 30 May, 2020.